Thursday, January 21, 2010

Ten Trends for 2010

“An organization can only ‘walk the talk' when its managers deliberately shape its internal reality to align with its brand promise…(the brand's) values must be internalized by the organization, shaping its instinctive attitudes, behaviours, priorities, etc.”
ALAN MITCHELL, “Out of the Shadows”,
Journal of Marketing Management, January 1999

Experts have been warning us for some time that this day was coming.

In December of 2003, a wizard advised a new generation would soon be taking over - using technology to blaze their way to power.

In 2005, Thomas Friedman wrote about the world going flat.

In 2009, Seth Godin explained how "tribes" would need someone like you to lead.

If you were paying attention to the voices of those and other thought leaders, what you are about to discover today may not surprise you.

But, if you are not up to speed on the implications of a "Flat World", society's 40-year "Pendulum Shift" and the changing dynamics of "Tribes" in a wired world, what you absorb today may shock you.

If you're a business owner or a career-minded professional serious about taking your game to the next level, here is a snapshot of what Branding in 2010 will look like. In other words, Ten Trends for 2010 that will have a direct impact on the success - or failure – of your branding and marketing efforts.

1. Value is King

Consumer spending, even when what you have is "On Sale", will continue to be replaced by "Why Should I Buy at All?" This spells trouble for brands with no authentic meaning, whether high-end or low. The more your customer learns to search and compare products online the less room for multiple copies or loyalty to the locally produced one.

2. "Because We Said So" is History

Your brand can't just say it stands for something and make it so. The consumer will decide, making it more important than ever for a brand to be "real" in order for it to be believed. In the wake of the financial bloodbaths of the past two years, people are more aware then ever of the hollowness of bank ads that claim "we're all in this together" when those same banks cut their credit and foreclosed on their homes. Same holds true for inauthentic celebrity shilling such as Seinfeld & Microsoft or Tiger Woods & Buick.

3. Hope Has Currency

That's how one of the best brands ever crafted came alive. A few weeks before he won the presidential elections, Obama beat Nike, Apple, Coors and Zappos to win the Association of National Advertisers' top annual award – Marketer of the Year. Riding on a wave of much needed optimism, Barack sold a promise of Hope and led America back to feeling good about the future. In doing so, Obama became the first US president since JFK to become a ­superbrand. Now corporate brands are rushing in with Pepsi's "Choose Change" and Southwest Airlines' offer of "Yes You Can" tickets.In what way will your brand weave a message of hope into the story its telling?

4. Video Lights it Up

We’ve only seen the beginning of Internet TV. Video is the most powerful personal branding medium because it closes the gap because between knowing of someone and actually meeting them. In business, this is called building trust and a connection with your audience. Thanks to greater bandwidth, cheaper storage, and a proliferation of products and services that make shooting, storing, viewing, and sharing video easy (Flip video, iPhone 3GS, YouTube, vimeo,, vodpod, etc.), video will rule in 2010.

5. The "Mobile Economy"

"Smart" phones will steadily replace the "dumb" ones. If you don't the difference between the two, that should send shivers up your branding spine right now. 607.5 million mobile users will be using social networks by 2013, which means that businesses will have to start making their websites mobile friendly. Here is a glimpse of what the "mobile economy" will look like.

6. "Buzz" Ain't Enough

Personal recommendations will be higher valued than ever. Conversation and community is all; eBay thrives based on consumer feedback. If consumers trust the community, they will extend trust to the brand. Not just word of mouth, but the right word of mouth within the community. A brand with the right street cred can go viral in days, but the opposite is also true. After all, everybody knows GM, but nobody's buying their cars. According to a survey by the Opinion Research Corporation, 84% of Americans say online reviews influence their purchasing decisions

7. Relate to Women

Don't "target" them.

Start speaking to them. In their language.

No further explanation is required.

8. Simple is Sexy

According to USA Today, the magic marketing word for 2010 is "simple". If 2009 was all about "cheap", consumers are now looking for simplicity in health and beauty items and most definitely in things they eat. Last year there were ingredient decreases in 19 food product categories including pet food. And between 2005 and 2008there was a 65% increase in products using the word "simple" or "simply" in their brand name.

9. Differentiation = Brand Value

Brand awareness and generic features and benefits are out. Having something different to sell and say is all that bleeping matters. No one has been giving a rat's ass about your "quality products and services, with friendly and knowledgeable staff" for about a decade now. How are you truly going to be different from the 19 other competitors who sell pretty much the same shit you do?

10. Transparency Rocks!

And transparency will rock your world. The truth about you and your company is going to come out, whether you like it or not. Otherwise, how else does one explain how a minor traffic mishap outside a pro golfers home wind up toppling one of the most lucrative personal brands the world has ever known? In less than a week? Ask United Airlines if they wouldn't like to be known for something other than the company that breaks guitars. When consumers start trashing a brand (such as yours), what price will your business pay if those messages make the first page of the Google search results?

As you may have already noticed, we have been slowly moving away from bought space to earned space.

How much space does your brand plan to earn in 2010?

And how will you earn that space?

“The crucial ingredient in the success of any brand is its claim to authenticity”
AL RIES & LAURA RIES, "The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding"


Ian Varty said...


Just a quick note to thank you for your blog. I read it every day and it still feels like a gift.

ElderGEEK said...

As usual, spot on Gair


LOL on 7!!!
A note to 10, some say we live in a "no publicity is bad publicity" era, which is evidenced by the extraordinary, sex-tape-based, spiral to fame of prior-to unknown Paris Hilton, likewise, TW has probably never been quite so
(in)famous - Golf schmolf, well that's what this woman says. : )

Lenny Boudreau said...

One of your best Posts to date! Anyone not reading this is missing out!

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